Friday, 9 January 2009
I had a FABULOUS morning! P and I decided last night that we would go down to Avebury in Wiltshire so I can take photographs with my new camera. Added to this was the excitement that it would be cold, frosty and foggy so enigmatic images might just be there for the taking.
We got up at 6am and were out of the house by 8am, caught the rush-hour on the A303, went the long way round via Stonehenge and Devizes and pulled into the carpark at about 10.30am. There were 2 other cars there - result! One thing I can't stand in my photographs is people. I will wait as long as it takes to get pesky tourists out of my viewfinder but the lack of cars boded well. Plus the temperature was a Siberian -6 degrees which was likely to put people off. But, my, the weather had turned the landscape on the way down into a Narnian Snow Queen's paradise - we drove into and out of banks of strangely pale pink fog with occasional bursts of sunshine and startlingly blue skies. The trees and bushes, grasses and undergrowth were purest lacey white, as if dusted with icing sugar - absolutely magical!
We wrapped up as warm as we could and headed out. It was a photographer's dream - you couldn't take a bad shot. All you had to do was point and click - fantastic contrasts between the stones, the frost and the sky and NO PEOPLE!! I shot frame after frame for about an hour, then we had to warm up with coffee and hot chocolate in the local pub before heading out again. By this time the sun had come out and the sky was amazingly blue.
It suddenly dawned on me while I was making my way around the bank surrounding the stones that this was actually a defining moment in my life - I was actually fulfilling a life's ambition. You see, I'm a trained archaeologist and have been visiting ancient sites in Britain for decades now. I have plenty of photos of these places in the summertime, but I've always longed to visit them in winter. The stones seem somehow more shrouded in mystery when covered in ice and snow - bleak but gorgeous. But the weather has, ironically, always put me off - I've never fancied driving the distances in the snow and ice to reach them, but P was happy to do this!
I love this place and would seriously consider having my ashes scattered here if it wasn't a World Heritage Site and the presence of my modern burnt bones likely to bugger up future archaeological results....
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures!